Ceasefire Bodo rebel group says it won’t allow Bangladeshis in Bododland
Issues ultimatum to the government saying that they will only allow ‘genuine’ Muslims to settle in Bodoland
The pro-talk faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) has on Saturday warned the state government to send back the people from Muslim communities only after proper verification of their citizenship. The faction of the banned outfit, which is involved in a peace parley with the Centre, has also said that it would not allow any ‘illegal migrant’ to settle in the Bodo heartland.
“We will not allow any Muslim to settle in the BTAD areas unless the work of the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is complete and rehabilitation should be only provided to genuine Muslims not Bangladeshis. We will not allow any illegal migrant in BTAD areas, the legal people are always welcome,” said general secretary of NDFB(P) B Swamhkwar alias Govinda Basumatary. The NDFB (P) has demanded that the year 1951 be made the base year of NRC update and not 1971, which the government has decided. “Between 1951 and 1971, a lot of illegal Bangaldeshis have entered Assam, they have changed the demographic and now the aboriginals like the Bodos are under threat of life, livelihood and land,” said Bhraman Baglari of the Peoples’ Joint Action Committee for the Bodoland Movement (PJACBM), which has given support to the demand raised by NDFB(P) of the mandatory citizenship of every Muslim housed in relief camps.
If the Assam government fails to address its demand, the NDFB (P) along with other Bodo groups and civil society would launch a vigorous democratic agitation across the Bodo heartland, the NDFB leaders further told media at a press conference in Guwahati.
Meanwhile, government sources have confirmed that 1971 would remain as a base year for NRC update process in Assam and that the issue was discussed at length with other political parties in the all party meet held on Friday convened by the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Despite, curfews and army presence, the riot-torn areas are still volatile and people are still losing their life due to incidents of attack and violence. On Friday late evening, unidentified gunmen shot dead a Muslim youth, Hasim Ali (26), at Bandwsora on the Kokrajhar –Chirang border. The entire region is tense once again due to the killing.
On the other hand, the exodus of people from the Northeast from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune is continuing despite repeated assurances by the Assam government that there is nothing to be worried about. In spite of Assam ministers camping at Hyderabad and Bangalore, thousands of students and youths working in southern India from Northeast are returning, as rumours are still doing the rounds about Northeastern people being attacked. Assam transport minister Chandan Brahma and agriculture minister Nilamani Sen Deka are camping at Hyderabad while forest minister Rakibul Hussain and power minister Pradyot Bordoloi are in Bangalore to stop the students and youth from fleeing.
In another development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has declared reward of Rs 1 lakh for crucial information that would help the sleuths nail the perpetrators and conspirators of the riots in Assam. The CBI team, which is presently in Kokrajhar, has recovered some video clips of the riots which would help in identifying the culprits. A special Central forensic team is also collecting important evidence from different burnt down villages in the riot hit areas. The CBI has registered seven cases related to the Assam riots for investigation.
Meanwhile, the Assam government sources revealed that a review meeting was chaired by chief minister Tarun Gogoi to take stalk of situation. The CM has asked the civil administration to speed up the rehabilitation process. Over 2 lakh people are still living in relief camps in Lower Assam.
Ratnadip Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka.